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JPMorgan closes deal to sell physical commodities business for US$3.5 bil.

NEW YORK--JPMorgan said on Wednesday that it has made a deal to sell its physical commodities business for US$3.5 billion as regulators weigh whether to restrict banks' ability to control power plants, warehouses, and oil refineries.

If it's approved by regulators, the deal would put the commodities business in the hands of energy and commodities trading company Mercuria Energy Group Ltd.

Big banks have long profited from price swings in metals, energy, and other commodities. But some had branched out into owning physical facilities. Last summer JPMorgan said that the possibility of new regulations on whether banks could continue to do that was a factor behind its decision to consider selling some of its physical commodities business, which includes metals and energy assets. The Federal Reserve in January said it would consider new regulations.

JPMorgan shares rose 24 cents to US$58.30 on Wednesday. Its shares have risen about 19 percent over the past year.

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